Ethiopia’s Liyuu Police is the New Horn of Africa Crisis in the Making


By: Ahmed Abdi

Somalilandsun – Ethiopian paramilitary Force or Liyuu Police militia better known as “Ethiopia’s Janjaweed” is killing, raping, torturing, and arresting unarmed civilians in Ethiopian-Occupied Ogaden Region.

The Militia’s human rights violations are well-documented by the Rights Groups-such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Genocide Watch. The Guardian reported that this criminal institution to receive £19 million from UK’s department for International Development or (DFID), a report denied by the DFID.

Twenty-three year-old, Nafis, who only gave her first name for fear of reprisal, told me how she escaped from her town Hamaro, in the Fiq province, on phone. “A large number of paramilitary soldiers stormed our houses while I was in the vicinity of the town, killing any-one in sight and taking few people with them including my 2-year-old baby, Neima Mohammed, she said.

Two hours later, she was confirmed that her baby, Neima, was taken and detained in “Ogaden Jail” for political background. The baby’s father, Mohammed, is one of the ONLF-sympathizers and that is the reason behind the baby’s detention. But Nafis was shocked and was more gut-wrenching for the news of her baby. Now a refugee in Yemen, Nafis’s message to International community is simple: “I want my little baby back”.

The aforementioned reveals down-to-earth reality in Ogaden: the local people face a stark choice indeed, namely either to remain at home in Ogaden, and be exposed to various deprivations, extreme suffering, routine army brutality, long imprisonment, and brutal scorch earth tactics or flee and manage to get to some refugee camps in the neighboring countries whereby safety is not an issue anymore, but the conditions of life are truly miserable and the humanitarian assistance is very limited.

Nafis is one of more than 3,000 Ogadeni refugees currently living in Yemen’s Capital, Sana’a under UNHCR’s mandate.

Liyuu Police-controlled notorious prison locally known as “Jail Ogaden” in the regional capital of Jigjiga is one of brutal prisons on earth that is held many inmates without charge. About 5,000 inmates are in Ogaden jail among them are women, children and babies including men. This prison is known for “dishing out not just physical torture to its inmates but mental as well.” I will write in details for my upcoming articles.

According to human rights groups, Ethiopian forces and its ally, Special police, carry out unlawful detention and extra-judicial killing of civilians sought to be sympathizers of the ONLF. Ethiopian forces are also accused of forcefully recruiting civilians among them children to do its war against Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) but Liyuu Police members are defecting one-by-one and Ethiopian forces may not rely on it any longer, as a former Liyuudefector, Captt. Hassan Aafo, told me.

This academy for qualified murderers enjoy international community’s silence when it comes to human rights abuses being committed against the unarmed Somali civilians in Ethiopian-occupied Ogaden region by the Liyuu Police militia and Ethiopian Army. Many people were forced out Ogaden region and died in the seas; therefore, Liyuu Police militia is not only a new regional crisis but international one.

According to Swedish Paper, Aftonbadet, Swedish War Crimes Commission has launched a preliminary investigation against Ogaden Regional President, Abdi Mohamoud Omar and his vice president Abdilahi Yusuf Werar. The Report came right after different Swedish TV channels including Swedish Television SVT, showed a movie smuggled out from Ogaden by an Ogadeni Refugee, Abdilahi Hussein, who had been a government official in the region. The 100 hours long movie is said to have many evidences of genocide committed by the Ethiopian government in the region.

According to a report by the Ogadentoday Press three civilians were executed in Godey, quoting an NGO-worker in the area, who declined to be named, said, that the men who were demised were accused of being sympathizers of Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).

The Oil-rich Ogaden Region borders Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia and many of its residents are ethnic Somalis. The region was Italian and British-colony, but in 1954, British handed over the region secretly to Ethiopia a decision rejected by the Ogaden Somali population and fight for full Independence ever since.